Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965 UK)

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Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965 UK)

Post  BoG on Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:01 am


Hey-ho, it's DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS (1965) starring
PETER CUSHING as Dr. Who / ROY CASTLE / JENNIE LINDEN / ROBERTA TOVEY


with BARRIE INGHAM / Directed by GORDON FLEMYNG
This was the first Dr. Who theatrical feature, based on the famed TV character introduced a couple of years earlier on British television as 'The Doctor.' The film was aimed at the kids and was popular as a Saturday matinee. I first watched it on TV in the States when I was a kid and enjoyed it immensely, though I prefer the 2nd one, DALEKS INVASION EARTH 2150 AD, slightly (I think I actually saw the 2nd one first, because that was the one in which I was introduced to the Daleks). When I first saw this one, I was still unaware of the original TV version.
So, as has happened with many American kids, my intro to Dr. Who was the Peter Cushing version, the one that most Dr Who fans frown upon. Cushing played him as one of his 'faux-elderly' roles, overdoing it in the estimation of many fans as a nearly senile old fool, though his grandfather figure probably, again, appealed to most kids. In my later years, however, I noted a method to this madness: yes, his Dr. Who comes across as very doddering & absent-minded in the early scenes, but once the actual adventure starts, his keen intellect and action orientation kicks in, as if responding to the strange challenges, and this may explain why his foes, like the Daleks, always underestimate him.
The other difference in Cushing's Dr. Who is that the original was conceived as a 'Time Lord' while Cushing's version was just this elderly human who happened to be an eccentric & brilliant scientist (this also raises the question of why this old guy built the TARDIS as a police box - eccentricity?). The plot begins with the 4 adventurers - Who & his 2 granddaughters and the older girl's beau Ian (Castle) - at Who's home; Who has just completed his TARDIS and shows it off to Ian; Ian, skeptical and also a bit of a stumblebum, accidentally activates the TARDIS and sends them all to another planet; this is fast-paced - we're only 6 minutes into the story at this point. They end up in the middle of a strange petrified forest which they later find out is the result of a war. Then they note a city in the distance... uh,oh...

The tale ends up revolving around two sets of aliens/peoples in conflict with each other - the hostile, warlike Daleks, encased in moving shells or cones, and the Thals, the nice pacifists, in blond wigs & eye make-up. The story is a mixture of thrills (the lethal gaseous weapons of the Daleks, the swamp) and humor (mostly from Castle's antics), but also some commentary on war and violence. My favorite scene is when Who uses Ian in an educational demonstration - he pretends that Ian is following his orders to forcibly take one of the female Thals to the Daleks; the leader of the Thals leaps up and clobbers Ian; Dr.Who has graphically shown the Thals that violence is sometimes required. It's a great little scene, combining comedy and drama - at Ian's expense, LOL.

The true stars of the film may be the warbling Daleks; they're old hat nowadays but back then, when I first saw this, I was transfixed by those warped voices and the metal containers, as well as the single-minded intent to "Exterminate!" The cast playing the humans and Thals is actually also pretty good. It's juvenile, but the wild ideas and scenario still hold up well. The film was also a good use of color and widescreen - something stressed in the marketing back then, since the TV version was still in b&w in the sixties. The cinematography was by John Wilcox. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10




Last edited by BoG on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:53 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dr Who & Daleks behind the scenes

Post  BoG on Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:17 am

Behind the Scenes of Dr.Who & the Daleks and Factoids:

This film, made in March 1965, was an Amicus production and based on the 2nd story of the first season of the BBC-TV series, adapted from Terry Nation's 7-episode arc. At that point, William Hartnell was playing the TV Doctor. Milton Subotsky compressed the story to fit into one film. The TV story was simply titled 'THE MUTANTS' (later known as just 'THE DALEKS' - the 1st episode was 'The Dead Planet') and these ruthless alien characters proved to be very popular with British audiences; therefore, their inclusion in this film was a no-brainer.
Changes to the Doctor character and the insertion of humor happened in view of the American audience for the film which the producers knew was unfamiliar with the TV version. Freddie Francis was announced as director at one point but did not end up with the job. He was involved in pre-production and some casting choices.


By all accounts, the cast got along very well on this film; there's even a story that Peter Cushing agreed to do the 2nd film only if Roberta Tovey (the younger granddaughter) was going to be in it. Roy Castle & Jennie Linden were unavailable for the 2nd one. Castle was well-known as an accomplished tap dancer.

The film went over budget; it was intended to come in at 120,000 pounds, but ended up at 140,000 (other estimates place it at 180,000, but this may have included later marketing, for re-releases and such). It wrapped on 04/23/65. The film opened in London on June 25, 1965 and started breaking box office records. A sequel was thus assured. In the U.S., this first one was released in July, 1966.

Dell Comics released the comic book adaptation as one of their Movie Classics issues in late 1966; this was the first appearance of Dr. Who in American comics:

NOTE THE MENTION OF ROBOTS ON THE COVER - THE ONE THING THAT THE DALEKS WERE NOT.

http://www.entertonement.com/collections/21777/Dalek
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